The biggest issue in the valley is the inversion. That basically means the air above the mountains is warmer than that in the valley, creating a lid and trapping the pollution. Last year, we only had 5 inversion days. This year there has already been more than 20. It's something we can all see, smell, and feel.
Wednesday at the governor’s office, one child after another begged the governor for cleaner air.
"I don't like this air because my family is getting sick from it and I’m sick of it," one said.
"All the kids in 4th grade want to go outside and enjoy their lives," exclaimed another.
It's a message that the Division of Air Quality hears loud and clear.
"Certainly we agree with the main message that air pollution like we've seen over the past month is just not acceptable," said Director Bryce Bird.
As a matter of fact, the federal government says we're not meeting air quality standards and something has to be done about it by the end of this year. So the D.A.Q. Created another 22 regulations this week in hopes of bringing pollution down during an inversion.
"On a typical day we put about 350 tons a day of emissions into the valley so when we have an inversion for a number of days that keeps adding and adding and adding and we see that number go through the roof," Bird said.
So what exactly would it take to make our air quality better?
"It will take a reduction of about a third from the daily emissions we have today," Bird said.
That would mean shutting down a third of all the industrial plants, which are responsible for 11% of the valley’s bad air. We’d also have to take 300,000 cars off the road in just one bad air day.
"Over 50% of the emissions on a daily basis come from how we drive," Bird said.
We would also have to cut back on a third of the emissions that come from homes and small businesses. They create 8,000 tons of emissions each year, and account for more than 30% of the pollution in our air.
As you can see, this is no small task. The department is also talking about putting more regulations on manufacturers to reduce pollutants. They'll meet at the end of the month to discuss that.